I just noticed this several-days-old sentence from Time‘s Richard Corliss in a 9.16 Toronto Film Festival piece on Julie Taymor‘s Across The Universe: “I forget who said this — a movie producer, I think, appearing on a making-of promo video — but he characterized the quality of his film as ‘somewhere between Sergeant Pepper the album and Sergeant Pepper the movie.'”

I don’t think this is a fair analogy — Across the Universe is more reminiscent of Milos Forman‘s Hair — but the quote reminded me of a famous headline that appeared on the front page of the long-defunct L.A. Herald Examiner (not the entertainment section but the actual front page) on the opening day (7.24.78) of Universal and Robert Stigwood‘s catastrophic musical, St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The headline read “St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bomb.” Universal marketing executives hit the roof and, if I remember correctly, cancelled advertising with the paper for revenge. I remember it being a huge furor for two or three days.

I was at the all-media screening for this musical at the old Rivoli theatre (B’way at 49th) a few days before the New York opening. I was sitting in the orchestra dead center, and I distinctly remember that as costar Peter Frampton began to sing “The Long and Winding Road,” a guy in the first or second row couldn’t stand it and yelled out, “Ecch! Ecch!”